Special, Intelligent, Precious and Scarce.
This week I have been visiting high-end fabric producers and retailers to market-screen some new textile technologies. What impresses me most about the scientists we are working with is their commitment to the customer experience. These are award winning scientists in the fields of nanotechnology, chemistry and physics who have created world 1st applications, but what is special is that they are taking the time to visit the market, talk to real people and then go back to refine the science so it enhances the customers experience.
The technology is using nano sized particles of noble metals (silver and gold) to either bend light to create colour or simply to create antimicrobial textiles. I have written about this before in my post The Ultimate Purple Sheep. This blog entry is not about the product so much as it is about how to market the product.
The market is excited about the idea of textiles coloured with pure gold. We were shown a suit at one London retailer that sold for £75,000. But our technology was seen as a cut about that for both its cleverness and because it was applied to pure New Zealand wool.
A number of companies have registered interest so now we have the nice problem of choosing our customers. We could make the product cheaper, dumb it down so it appeals to a wider market, and play a volume game. Or we can keep the supply limited, work with just a few carefully selected partners and keep the product desirable, intelligent and scarce.
This is a simple supply and demand scenario, by limiting the supply and offering an element of exclusivity we justify a higher price. By creating a brand “Aulana”, derived from AU for gold and Lana for wool, and by setting strict brand specifications on product association and design we grow the appeal of the product and the appeal of the brands we cooperate with.
We are planning not to sell very much. Scarcity is part of the product appeal and a deliberate marketing strategy. Too many companies are trying to appeal to a mass audience, make a the product cheaper with less integrity and then they wonder why the customer has a rubbish experience and the product collects dust on a retail shelf.
Make it special; keep it precious, scarcity is a powerful tool.